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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  November 29, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST

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and, you know, many people share this experience of being in a state of not knowing what you're here for, not knowing what to do with yourself, not knowing why are you alive? and she's going to learn this. >> rose: we continue this evening with andrew solomon. he is the author of "far from the tree: parents, children and the search for identity." >> it's about the question of other nests and how one comes to accept otherness, and not say deaf culture is so wonderful and i wish i was deaf, and not say those people are living with a tragedy, to try to identify both sides. the identity piece, the illness piece, the suffering piece and the revelation piece. >> rose: we conclude with a look at incarceration in america, with patricia williams, michelle alexander, and eugene jarecki. >> i think it is possible to
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change people's minds about the war on drugs without making it a race issue. in fact, you know, every poll that's been done shows that white americans in particular don't want to hear about race or racial bias or the racial dimension of any issue, let alone mass incarceration on the war on drugs. but i believe we would be making a huge mistake if we were to pursue drug policy reform without talking about the racial dimension of this crisis. because if we do, if we go about our advocacy in a color-blind way and talk just about cost savings and dollars and cents, and the benefits of drug treatment, never address the racial dimention, we will fail to learn the critical sson that this moment in our history has to teach us. marion cotillard, andrew solomon, and a look at incarceration when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. rose: marion cotillard is here. she came to fame with her oscar-winning performance in 2007's film le vie rose." she was in this summer's batman movie. sewing magazine called her a french siren with hollywood appeal. in her new movie, she plays a trainer who survives a devastating desperate. here's the trailer for the film.
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>> rose: i am pleased to have marion cotillard at this table for the very first time. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: and congratulations. >> thank you very much. thank you for having me. >> rose: tell me about this. there was a director you wanted to work with. >> yes. >> rose: interesting story. some challenge from playing an amputee. but what was overwhelming for you? was it the theme? was it what? >> well, nothing was overwhelming. you know, when-- and i never see
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my job as a challenge. sometimes you have to work on things that are kind of hard to get, but if you have time to work and working with jacques cottier, who such a genius, makes things easier. no, i fell in love with the script. i thought it was a very special story. i didn't expect from-- i expected from jacques to write a beautiful and very special story. but i didn't expect him to write a love story. ... so it wait was even more excite glg your dad was in theater. >> yes. >> rose: your mom was in theater. >> my mom, too yes. >> rose: and you said what you loved about it was they had a freedom. every day they got up and did something dinner. >> yes, and they were happy and passionate about what they do. so you know, i think it's kind of contagious, and contagious, and all the people around them
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sharing the same passion of storytelling is for a kid it's kind of marvelous. >> rose: was it inevitable for you that you would drift that way? >> i don't know. i guess so. maybe-- but i remember when i was a kid, i wanted to do so many things, and then suddenly i realized that if i wanted to do a lot of things, being an actor was a good way to explore different jobs, different, you know, emotions. >> rose: and immerse yourself in someone else's experience and ideas. >> yeah, yeah. you elsewhere a lot about human beings doing that job. >> rose: of all the things you've done, which has given you the best opportunity to do that? this one? >> well, this one yeah, this one has a very special place because before this movie, i did a lot of movies based on either true
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stories, like true people, or people that were written in, you know, like in "batman" my character is out of the comic. so i had a lot of material to work with, and to create the character. with stephanie in "rust and bone," i-- we started from almost nothing. i mean, there's the story, but the background of the character is almost inexistent. >> rose: it's new because the experience she's happening changed her life but she just had it. >> yes, but also before the accident you don't know a lot about her so we really had to create almost everything. and out of the a big mystery that she is. and to solve this mystery, this mystery and with such a
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brilliant and smart director was something inspiring and very exciting. . >> rose: so this is a story about one who fall inside love with a man named ollie who is on some bad luck himself, has a kid that he is now trig to take care of, which they meet. she gives him her phone number and then he finds out she now needs him. >> yeah. they hit-- both of them in a way hit the bottom of their -- >> rose: existence. >> yeah, existence. and when you hit this bottom, there is nothing to face but yourself. and you have-- like, two options. either you give up on life on understanding why you are here for, or you face what you have to face and what happens in their story is that love --
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>> rose: happened. >> happens. well, love can solve -- >> rose: and lust, too. >> yeah. >> rose: why do you say that this is one of the roles that's given you the most-- best opportunity as we referred to earlier to transform yourself. >> well, first of all, because the evolution of the character is what you would tend when you watch her story, the evolution is huge. i mean, she starts like an empty shell, in a way, and step by step, she will feel herself with life. and, you know, many people share this experience of being in a state of not knowing what you're here for, not knowing what to do with yourself, not
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knowing why are you alive? and she's going to learn this. >> rose: and you can't do what you've been doing in your life, but you have to find ways to do the-- >> you have to find the courage and the sparkle that will, you know, give you the desire to go further with your life and explore more than just violence and research of something alive in sometimes the very wrong way because you are just lost. >> rose: when you look at what you've done in the last several years, for winning the oscar to "dark knight" is this the best time for you because you've had a chance to do those films that you can do, the small films in which there's a real emotional attachment, and then there are these larger films that have different kinds of pressures and rewards? >> well, i feel very lucky that i can explore different genre,
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different universe, live through different visions of amazing directors. and i had never thought that i would have such luck. >> rose: this is the list. soderberg, michael mann, woody allen, tim burton. >> yeah. >> rose: that's a rather remarkable list. you come away how different from each of those directors? more confident, more open-- >> no, i don't think confidence will ever be part of my life and of myself. >> rose: why not? >> i-- i-- that's the way it is, and i think that is something i share with a lot, almost all the actors. you know, it's because -- >> rose: is it the nature of an actor's lot to be, what, fragile? searching. what? help me. >> you know, the creative
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process is not something that will bring you confidence because you jump in the unknown constantly. that's what we're looking for. you know, if i read a beautiful script but if this is a story or a character that i have already experienced, i'm not sure i will do it. it's the unknown and the way we explore human soul and, like, when you meet someone, you don't know if you're going to get along with this person. you don't know how you're going to fall in love or if you fell in love right away, you don't know why. so it doesn't create the security at all. but it's-- you know, it's vibrant. it's like boiling volcano. you never know if you're going to -- >> rose: can you imagine not doing it? >> um, i can imagine doing a lot
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of different things, but not doing it, sometimes i think about it, but i don't -- >> rose: you think about it? well, sometimes i don't know, it's a lot. playing with your emotions, it's my passion but sometimes it can be overwhelming. but i think the answer is no. i-- i-- i cannot see myself -- >> rose: the interesting thing about you you have lots of interest. you're interested in political poornz you're florida greenpeace. those kinds of environmental questions are interesting to you. >> i'med in the world and how us human beings deal with ourselves and the world. . >> rose: it's great to see you. >> great to see you, too. >> rose: promise me you will come back. >> year, i will. >> rose: to talk longer. >> thank you very much. > congratulations on the movie. >> thank you. >. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us.
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. . andrew solomon here is he. he is a bestselling author. his intimate account of depression in the "noon day demon" one the national book award in 2001. his new book "far from the tree: parents, children and the search for identity" tells us stories of kids who experience life in a profoundly different way than their families. dr. eric candle writees, solomon a student of human behavior has written an intellectual history that lays the foundation for a 21st century psychological bill of rights. i am pleased to have andrew solomon back at this table. welcome. >> what a pleasure to be here. >> rose: talk about the title first. "far from the tree." these are not, as they say, the acorn never falls far from the tree. >> right. >> rose: you're talking about acorns that do fall far from the tree. >> exactly. so i kept trying to come up with a phrase that would summon this idea of how families deal with children who are radically different from them in some
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ways, and i kept thinking over and over again of that adage. and i just thought it's just not true that the apple or acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. they sometimes fall down and roll away to some other place and the book is about how families manage to love children who are different from them, who are extraordinary in their own way. >> rose: you say loving our own children is an exercise in the imagination. >> i think there is a fantasy that people have before having children that their children will some in sense be an extension of themselves, and even if they don't think of it in-- they believe they will be wonderful parent because they won't make the mistakes their parents made. their kids come along and they're their own people and different and a whole set of challenges you weren't ready for. >> rose: do parents understand who their children who have fallen far from the tree-- or who exist far from the tree-- are going through? >> a lot of parents don't understand it at all. but i found that many make a journey from incomprehension to
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understanding to celebrating who their children are. and that was the passage i wanted to glart let me talk about some. deaf children, dwarfs, autistic, schizophrenibes, children with down syndromees, prodigies. children conceived in rape. children who commit serious crimes, and transgender children. they all share what? >> there are many identities passed down from generation to generation. these are all characteristics which, by and large, people don't share with their parents independent same way that someone who is gay, for example, or most deaf children are born to hearing parents or more dwarfs are born to parents of average height, how does a parent dial child who is so different and how does the child find meaning in a peer group? >> rose: what percentage do find that kind of understanding? >> you know, it's hard for me to give you an exact number.
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in my research, actually, most do. >> rose: most of them. >> yes. of course, people who have not found any meaning or are mill are less likely to make themselves available for an interview. but i found it was extraordinary how often parents who really struggled at the beginning ended up loving their children for who they were, as parents mostly have done since the dawn of time. >> chris is in 11th grade, and pretty much on his own in high school mean has a mentor that helps him. >> no biting, chris. >> chrissy, go to mom. >> let him walk off, if you don't mind. >> chris probably had one of the worst diagnoses ever, self-injurious, swollen intestinees, poisons in hisesome, neurological damage, mental retardation, severe autism, almost kroans disease. chris did not communicate. he didn't sit down, he didn't put on clothes. he wouldn't go outside.
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he ate the walls. he ate the table. he ate the rug. we couldn't eat in the home. we couldn't have lights on. we couldn't have the tv on. if i coughed he would run downstairs and punch me. it was a 24-hour-a-day job. chris never slept. he never ate. he wore diapers, never spoke. and tifs pretty much told to put him in an institution. the thing i've learned most over the years is to be a parent first. it changed my life completely, put me in another direction. i was able to love unconditionally. and i never thought of him as this poor, broken human being that we need to cure. you know, he's not sick. >. are you trying to get me to go? >> rose: i have heard so often parents tell me-- let's assume they're put in one of these groupings you have for the book-- "they have brought me so much more than i have given themment. what is it they bring?
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>> i heard it over and over again and the an deck dote to me sums it up, a couple of met with a son with down syndrome who is now 30, he became very much involveed in the way people with down syndrome are educated and set up something called the cook center. and i said when i interviewed them, "you spent so much time and effort on this, do you wish it had never happened? do you wish your son didn't have down syndrome? do you wish you never heard of that?" and his mother said to me, for david, i wish he didn't have down syndrome. and for david i would like to make his life easier and it's a hard way to be in the world. speaking for myself, i never would have believed 30 years ago i could say such a thing, it has so enriched my life and made me think so much more deeply for important things speaking for myself i wouldn't give it up for anything in the world. >> rose: what are those important things? >> i think the sense of the enormous diversity of human experience. i think the sense, also, in s regard, that everyone seems to be so unlike, one's experience in life is often of feeling
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alienated by people. coming to terms way child who is so different opens one up to the possibility that everyone has a lot in common. a lot of people talked about the intimacy with the whole world they hoped they achieved through parenting those children. >> i'm studently being judged. constantly being looked at,e, good, bad, or indifferent. it's something you need to learn, either not pay attacks to it and enjoy it, or deal with it because it's going to be part of your life forever. it's like being a celebrity but without the fame and the money. when i was born, my mom refused to see me for three days. not refused, but didn't see me for any reasons varying from i was in an incubator to she was scared. the doctors gave her a paragraph and a medical dictionary that described what i was from the medical standpoint, a paragraph. that was all they had. it said he would never amount to anything. his mental capacity would be little to none, and you should probably give him up and think
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about adoption. and there were people for and against it in the family. it was supposedly a big family discussion. >> rose: tell me about your own life. >> i was born and grew up in new york. when i was little, i was diagnosed with dyslexia. my mother spent an enormous amount of time helping me to recover from the dyslexia. when i was a little bit older, i realized that i was gay. that was not such a comfortable conversation at home and in our house. and we all struggled with it. and now in adulthood i find myself happily married to a husband with children whom i adore and a big, clicked family. >> rose: speaking of a big, complicated family. look at this. what do we say about all this? >> we say for shorthand it's five parents with four kids in three states. we say it's a very modern idea of what constitutes a family, but i say there are lots of people who think that somehow these different ways of struckuring a family detract from their own families and i
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don't accept those subtractive models of love, only additive ones. and i think the presence of different kinds of family relationships, it's not that they're better than other kinds, but they're very powerful. and i think in the same way we want species diversity on the planet, we want to strengthen the echo spear of kindness by as many different types of families. i don't think it's better. i don't think it's worse. i think it's other. that's what the whole book is about, the question of otherness, and how one comes to accept otherness, and not say oh, my god, deaf culture is so wonderful i wish i was deaf. but also not to say those people are living way tragedy, to try to understand both sides of it-- the identity piece and the illness piece, the suffering piece and revelation piece. >> rose: you attended horace mann in new york. >> i did. >> rose: and you know where i'm going? >> i think so. >> rose: the "new york times" published an article about some male faculty apuce of students
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when you were a student there. >> the article was shattering and i was anguished thinking of what people suffered at the hands of some of those faculty members. at the same time, i felt some of those faculty members were among the few people who had been kind to me in a very vulnerable period of my life, especially in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade and i was beginning to realize i myself was gay -- >> rose: kind to you in they wanted you to find self and understanding? >> they were generous. the music teacher aruledded to include me in all kinds of activities around the music programs. the history teacher would sit and talk to me. they were friends. and i feel as though the press has done something which is very damage, creating a polarized situation in either you seem to say these people are monstrous and nothing but monstrous or you say i really think what they did wasn't so bad. i think what they did was terrible, and i think there were also many fine qualities . >> rose: how do you explain, that what they did was terrible and what they did with you was
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important to you? >> i think that human beings where complex. and that the idea that you can categorize people as if it were "snow white--" the good one ones and evil ones, is misguided. i have the experience of being gay with the family i just looked at because we are in the 21st century. but at that point, in the later part of the 20th century, being gay was so castigated those people lived lives of such repression an secrecy i think it was sometimes hard to parse the distinction between the crime they were told their swat was and the much greater crimes they committed. it was a morally blurry period. >> rose: so where are you today in terms-- i mean, everything-- you've been on this program in a brain series. we tald about many things. you won the national book award. you have another book. you lecture. you seem to have figured it all out.
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>> well, i don't think i can say i figured it all out, but i do think that i was very determined from the very beginning when i found myself in difficult serbias that i was somehow going to try to squeeze some dignity out of them. >> rose: dignity is an important word. >> as i kept working on this project, it doesn't matter if the parents i described before actually did have a better life having a child with down syndrome. they had the life they had and they've managed to be grateful for and it they, therefore, are essentially happy people who i think have been amazing parents to a child on who is very ill and if they had gone through the whole thing thinking we are cursed and never recover from it they never would have been able to do that. i think a lot of times we construct the happiness. it may have not been there. i might have had a much happier life if i was straight and the captain of the football team. it could have been absolutely fantastic, but it's not what happened. >> rose: or maybe not. >> or maybe not. but i think the theme is to
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value the life you have is really essential. >> rose: what does dyour parents come to see and joond my mother died when i was just 27, which was a very difficult and sad experience for me. but she had been accepting of me by that time and she said to me really on her death bed, she said, "i'd like to you find love for yourself, whatever shape it takes, because it's the only thing that's important in life. it's what i've always wanted for you and always will." and my dad has been my huge supporter and a wonderful cheerleader and a joyful relationship. we went through a rough patch, as one does i think as always with one's father especially if you have a rather strong and dom neither father, but inned end-- i thought all the time i was anything through this, coming out of the closet and thought my parents were unacceptable and mistook the idea that they were unaccepting as not loving. they were loving and frustrated. when i did the book i saw everyone's parent where's frustrated. many are loving.
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they're two different questions. >> rose: just remember as we talk about this and conclude, deafness, dwarf, down syndrome-- the whole range of things that are "other." >> yes. >> rose: i sort of rebelled from the idea of what is normal in a sense. >> my own idea of what is normal changed so profoundly as i worked on the book. i have a kind of counter-phobic tendency to rush towards things that frighten me and i found disability as troubling. i also came to think-- and this is kind of crucial-- that actually being different, which feels very isolating, is very uniting. you are someone who has a child with schizophrenia and you're only in the circle of other people dealing with that condition, there aren't so many of them. if you think it has a lot in common with people of transgenders or criminals you're part of a gigantic community.
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>> rose: thank you so much, andrew solomon. >> thank you. what a pleasure. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. our subject is incarceration, and we begin with this quote, "law and order exists for the purpose of establishing justice. when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." martin luther king jr. wrote those words from a birmingham jail. 50 years later, over 50 million americans live under correctional control. two million are in prison, five times the number of people incarcerated in 1972. a young black man in america has a one in three chance of gog jail at some point in his life. today we asked what mass incarceration means for our society. it raises questions of race, class, and the meaning of justice. joining me, patricia williams. she a law professor at colombia university american work is to examine race in the american legal system. and michelle alexander, her book "the new jim crow" brought the conversation about mass incarceration to a wider
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johnson. and eugene jarecki, the filmmaker behind the movie requested the house i live inment. when we use the term "mass incarceration" what are we talking about? >> we're talking about a system that function primarily as a sufficiency racial and social control, rather than a system of crime prevention and control. you mentioned that there are more than 7 million people who are under correctional control-- in prisoner jail, on probation, parole. we now have the largest penal system in the world, a system unpose dented in world history. and although politicians may tell you the explosion in our prison population has been driven by crime or surging crime rates, it's actually not true. it's been a change in the way we respond to poor communities, especially poor communities of color, primarily through punitive interventions. we ended the war on poverty and
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declared the war on drugs and now we have a system of mass incarceration. >> rose: is it getting worse? >> i would say it's getting worse only because the public is so sort of blind to it. i mean, you can imagine-- imagine a war that has gone on for 40 years, cost a trillion dollars, had 45 million arrests and has produced nothing except that drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever before. when i went around the country to 25 states asking people on the streets, what, do you think of the war on drug?" they all said, "you mean in mexico? you mean under reagan." nobody even knows this war is going on on our own soil. >> rose: and how does it affect-- and i raise this question-- how does it affect african americans more than anyone else? >> i think it affects african americans more than anyone else because they are-- they don't have the same resources to provide lawyers. i'm really struck by the fact
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that i teach at columbia, where there are very few drug stops or interrogations. where, for example, you have articles in the newspaper discussing students who take their little brother's ritalin, or they take attention-enhancing drugs for taking exams, and it is reported on in newspapers as being the press and the stress of achievement and of striving. nobody talks about it as drug trafficking when somebody pays $5 in a dorm. that's very prevalent on college campuses. if you go a few blocks north in harlem, people are stopped sever times in a block in a stop-and-frisk policy aimed at union african americans, supposedly not for racial reasons but because specific neighborhoods are targeted. and so there's a kind of
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quality that deracinates what is in fact race and class vector of enormous power. >> rose: once in prison what, is the level of recidivism. >> about 70% of people released from prison return within a few years. and the majority of those who return in some states actually do so in a matter of months. not because they don't want to work or because they don't want to get their lives back together but because the challenges can associated with mere survival once you've been branded a criminal or felon are so immense. i think many people have a general understanding, once you've been branded a felon, life is hard. but what they don't realize is you space legal discrimination for the rest of your life. for the rest of your life you have to check that box on employment applications. you can be barred from public housing, denied food stamps, discriminated against in education, depending on the state may not be able to vote. so just survival, finding food, finding shelter is extraordinarily difficult once you've been branded a felon.
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>> rose: and when you called the book it "the new jim crow mass incarceration in the age of color blindness" what did people say? >> i admit in the book and am eager to admit there was a time when i rejected comparisons between mass incarceration and slavery or mass incarceration and jim crow, believing those kinds of claims or comparisons were exaggeration or scores or i had pershly. but after years of working as a civil rights lawyer and advocate, representing victims of racial profiling and police brutality and investigating patterns of drug law enforcement in poor communities of color and attempting to assist people who had been released from prison, re-enter into a society that had never shown much use for them in the first place, i really had a serious of experiences that began my own awakening. i began to awaken to the reality that far from ending kraft in america, we redesigned it.
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we create aid vast new system that has managed to relegate african americans to a permanent second-class status again. and it does function in a manner eerily reminiscent of the jim crow system. >> rose: we'll come back to the international dimension of this in a moment, but first i want to introduce this clip from the film. tell me about "the house i live in." >> "the house i live in" was a film i tried to make about the war on drugs, to go to about 25 states across the country and sort of really take stock of the whole profile of this epidemic that we're talking about. and i wanted to do that in a way that would stop people from being able to say, well, that's just baltimore," or "that's just new york" or "that's just chicago." i talked to people at all levels from the drug dealer to the cop, the judge, the warden, a family tree of those touch bide drug wars. and my findings were shocking, not just of the brutality of the system but about the humanity within the system, particularly among those who work in it, many
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who speak out very vocally in the film -- >> rose: you mean prison guards. >> prison guards, judges, cops from the front seat of their patrol cars teach them that recidivism rates. they need programs, carpentry, and lo and behold when a politician promises more cops on the beat or more overtime or handcuffs. where do they get the money. prison guard after prison guard tell me they take the money out of the very budgets i have to help prevent recidivism. so they flood me with more people because they're making more arrests and give me less. >> rose: this is "the house i live in," david sameop talks about how the war on drugs gives police monetary incentives to make arrests. >> i began to see the for the first time the destructive impact of drug laws not only on those they target but on those who enforce them as well. >> the problem is that cop that
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made that cheap drug arrest, he's going to get paid. he's going to get the hours of overtime for take the drugs to e.c.u.. he will get paid for processing the prisoner at central booking. he will get paid at sitting at his desk for writing the paperwork and he doll that 40, 50, 60 times a month so his base pay might be half of what he is paid as a police officer. >> the most important thing right here. >> we're paying a guy for stats. >> leave them here and we can go back out and do this other deal. >> compare that within guy to one guy doing police work, solving a murder, a rape, a robbery, a burglary. if he gets lucky he makes one arrest for a month. he gets one slip signed. and when the end of the month they look and say officer a, he made 60 arrests. officer b made one arrest. who do you, they make the sergeant? >> rose: how much of this is in part because we don't have
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the right sentencing laws and we need reform of the sentencing process? >> a huge portion has to do with sentencing laws, and certainly the most visible example of that has to do with cocaine, crack cocaine and powder cocane. for decades, the punishment for crack cocaine, which is largely used and sold in african american neighborhoods, was 100 times more it's sentencing was 100 times greater than powder cocaine. they are exactly the same chemical. powder cocaine is largely used by young and white upper class youth. did reduced it to i believe it is eight times-- 18 times. it reduced it, but the disparity is still great. and the disparity is still completely unexplained. >> rose: and the statistics show that people of all
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backgrounds use drugs and sell drugs. essentially, similar proportions. >> absolutely. studies consistently show for decades contrary to popular belief people of color are no more likely to use or sell drugs than white. that deifies our stereotypes of who a drug dealer is. those people if they imagine a drug dealer are imagining some black kid standing on the street corner. plenty happens in the hood but it happens everywhere else in america as well. eugene is absolute right, the war has been an abysmal failure. i think there are few politicians who would actually defend it as a success, who would claim publicly that the drug war has been a success. but why do we keep doing the same thing over and over again if it fails so abiz male? i think it's because from the outset, this drug war was never really about ending drug abuse and drug addiction. it was always about politics. particularly racial politics.
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numerous historians and political striftz now document the war on drugs was part of a grand republican party strategy known as the southern strategy of using racially coded "get tough" appeals on issues of crime and welfare to appeal to poor and work class whites, particularly in the south, who are anxious about and resentful of the many of the gains of african americans in the civil writes movement. and this get tough rhetoric proved so successful in appealing to the bloc of so-called white swing voters that soon democrats began competing with republicans to prove they, too, could be as tough as the republican counter-parts. so this whole war mentality really had little to do with genuine concern about drug addiction or drug abuse, and everything to do with getting tough on a group of people, a group of people defined largely by race who became the scapegoat for all that was wrong and
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threatening in america. >> rose: is it-- should this be a civil rights issue rather than a criminal justice issue? >> i think it's both. >> rose: okay. >> it's absolutely both. and the degree to which-- again, i mentioned profitability, but the "lock them up throw away the key and don't look at what is happening in prisons, which contributes to recidivism is also a part of how our 8th amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishments are being ignored once we put people in prison. there are consequences that have implications for voting rights, for example. so that where jerry san dusk seincarcerated, is a population of 4,000 people who were basically lost a great deal of money because the coal industry tanked. natural gas was there, but there isn't as much. they lobbied to have a proins
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put there. many rural communities are lobbying to have prisons -- >> rose: because they need the money. >> because they need the money. it's a jobs driver. i 21 wansberg to interview at the prison. i got lost in the a snowstorm and ended up in the high school, and i asked how to get to the prison, they said drive down progress drive and the prison is at the end of progress drive. there's deep irony in this, that there was actually profit in the prison populations. >> rose: you were going to say? >> well, you know, i went ultimately to a prison industrial trade show. that business has become so brazen about its business, which is the incarceration of fellow human beings for profit, that it represents this kind of scourge in american life where you have congress people whose entire job in life is to bring jobs to the district and money to their campaign coffers and that requires they do the very dark business ultimately of making sure there is a constant, steady flow of human beings coming
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through the machine on which a whole range of industries profit. but what that means is, you ultimately have to be a congress publish who is loading tough mandatory minimums. a bill about a playground has a minimum sentencing amendment in it. but there's no question that as i went through those halls, this sinking feeling came over me that america drank kool-aid, in a sense, over time that drug addiction was something other than a health matter. we were fooled by our own fear in a way that we should deal with that as a criminal matter. and as a result, we have fallen deeply into a primitive place that failed miserably because you can punish the drug use all you want but you're not making the demand go down. the demand in this country has stayed strong. we're the largest consumer in the world. it is fueling the horrible meltdown in mexico and elsewhere. and as we do, that the people who fall victim to this and do not get treatment and are not
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seen as citizens where you could be constructive and turn them into better systems. they get relegated to being seen as extra americans. 15% of the country that there is no jobs for, let's just bury them somewhere. and by the way, let's make a profit off of burying them in the meantime. >> not only are they just buried, they're partial citizens very way in the three-fifths function of the african american body. they become part of the census of the rural communities. they cannot vote. if disenfranchisement in most states prevents them from voting certainly while in prison or ever again but they get counted as part of the census for purposes of the number-- for the house of representatives. >> they get de-counted where they came from. if you get taken out of new haven, connecticut, a black neighborhood, and moved to a white area where there is a prison being set up, the numbers drop, new haven loses a person
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and cheshish gains a person. >> it is why real change is not going to happen from the top down. it is going to have to be a movement from the bottom up. if we were to go back to the rates of incarcerations we had in the 1970s before the war on drug, we would have to release four out of five people in prison today. more than one million people employed by the criminal justice system would lose their jobs. as patricia mentioned, most new prison constructions occurred in white rural communities who come to believe that their economies depend on prisons. private prison companies are listed on the new york stock exchange. thes is has become so equally rooted in our political structure that it's not going to fade away or downsize without a major upheaval, a demand on the part of the public. >> i want to challenge one thing. she knows everything-- the one thing i would differ slightly that one million in the criminal
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justice system would lose their job. they would? >lose the job they have today but they could move laterally to a job in treatment. i see prison guards i speak to all the time and i say i want to reform the system but i don't have it out for your job. in a treatment universe, many people like you are needed. you have been working with addicts for years. but i would like to propose to you you get a job in a new industry where you can be proud of. when you have bring your kid to work day-- i was in a prison on oklahoma on bring your kid to work day. wouldn't you like to be proud to tell where you of your children what you're doing to find a way out of the pain they're already in rather than increase that person's pain. >> you're right. it would take an enormous amount of political will to transfer people out of the jobs they have to other types of occupations, which would perform a much greater service to our
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communities no doubt. >> rose: "if a major mobilization got under way impressive changes in our nation's drug laws would not only be possible but likely without saying a word about race. >> i think it is possible to change people's minds about the war on drugs without making it a race issue. in fact, you know, every poll that's been done shows white americans in particular don't want to hear about race or racial bias or the racial dimension of any issue, let alone mass incarceration and the war on drugs of drugs. but i believe we would be make a huge mistake if we were to pursue drug policy reform without talking about the racial dimension of this crisis. if we do, if we go about our advocacy nay color blind way and talk just about cost savings and dollars and cents, and the benefits of drug treatment, never address the racial dimension, we will fail to learn the critical lesson at this moment in our history has to teach us. and we will continue to repeat
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this history. continue to birth caste-like systems as convict leasing replaced slavery and jim crow was born again. we would have another massive sy em that would not exist, thesyss we know it would not exist but for the racial identity as those perceived as the enemy in this war. and as long as we keep pushing race under the rug and imagining it's a nonissue, that it's class, north race. we have to acknowledge it is race and class that brought to us this place and it was our refusal to believe that those people living in ghetto-ized communities were deserving of the same care, compassion, and certain that we would extend to our own loved ones who might be struggling with drug addiction or abuse or experimentation. it was that refusal to care about them that birthed this system. if we don't deal with that, i fear even if we end this drug war, a new system will be born. maybe even one that is
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unimaginable, just as mass incarceration itself was rurally unimaginable 40 years ago. >> rose: where is mass incarceration on the agenda of most human rights, civil rights organizations? >> i think it's very high. and one of the concerns i think from an international perspective is we do not accord those targeted by our criminal justice system a measure of dignity. and dignity is certainly a very important element of human rights laws. are our jurisprudence in the united states sort of draws the line at a certain kind of dignity. but it is there in our 8th amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. even those who are convicted, even those who may have a criminal background are, owed a measure of human dignity which we seem to have tossed out the window when you look at the conditions in prisons. public prison, like super max prisons, which are sensory
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deprivation chambers and isolation chambers and drive people mad. private prisons which do not have the same system of accountability. we don't know what is really going on there because there is not the straightforward public accountability systems we have build into our ordinary criminal -- >> rose: here is a quote from the "washington post,," there is an urgent need to address the astronomical growth in the prisons population with its huge cost in dollar dollars and lost human potential. the criminal justice system is broken and conservatives must lead the way in fixing it." newt gingrich, the "washington post," 2011. the problem is recognized across the political board, is it not? >> yes. >> yes. >> rose: and even libertarians -- >> grover norquist suddenly has common cause with al sharpton. >> now politicians across the political spectrum are waking up to this, and it's not out of
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concern over the families that have been decimated by the drug war. it's out of the attempt to balance state budgets in a time of economic crisis and finding that there's no way-- >> do you mind that? >> i think it is a problem if we do the right thing for the wrong reasons. lawsuit lawsui martin luther king used to say there is a danger in doing the right things for the wrong lesson. if we don't learn to care about people who are poor and locked into ghetto communities and we don't learn about them and for making decision for cost-saving purposes, we will continue to repeat the same kinds of mistakes over and over again in different form. so there is a momentef opportunity presented. by the fact that we have the attention of politicians across the political spectrum for the first time nay meaningful way. the question is what are we going to do with this opportunity? we can't limit our arguments about dollars and cents if we
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choose to-- >> and dollars and cents doesn't deal with the punishment direct particularly at those who are perceived to deserve it. and i think the-- the performance of punishment against black bodies in particular, accounts for the great disproportion. the unavailability of those who might also be similarly affected to have empathy for that population. it's a little bit like the welfare queen. as long as the welfare queen is black, even white people will vote against their own best interest because they think the welfare queen is black and over there. and white populations who are just as miserably situated with regard to the it, for example, meth crisis, cannot identify with the war on drugs when it's racialized. so we have-- we splinter the potential for coalition. >> rose: what's the most important first step to be taken
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beyond some sense of educating public? >> i think it would be helpful to see something domestic happen and something international happen. i spoke to david mimeon about this this morning and you said you need somebody like bill clinton, a former president, and had a big hand in the drug war, to rethink it, and say wrest-- the benefit of time, and what evidence now tells us, john maynard cains will once said famously, when people accused him of changing his views. he said when i get new information i change my views. for bill clinton today to see the ravages of the drug war, it would be a great moment for him to say we are going to join a bun of people together from the grover norket of the ail and the other. how do we look at the model of a country like portugal and see there are tremendous lessons. you need to see the british and others join them and say there is a commonly-- a common passion in the world to see this go
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better. this is a global disaster of which america is the engine. but america can make the first major step and should and there's a legacy moment for obama in doing so. >> rose: thank you. i guess what's interesting about your last point to me is we need examples of what people from different and diverse experiences and political affiliations can come together to work on a common problem that affects everybody. >> yeah. >> yeah. >> rose: this film is called "the house i live in." michelle's book is called "the new jim crow." and professor patricia williams' book is called "blind goddess: a reader on race and justice." i was struck by the langston hughes quote which says justice say blind goddess a thing to which we blacks wise. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time.5
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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> this is n.b.r. >> susie: good evening, everyone. i'm susie gharib. from the white house to capitol hill, c.e.o.s from some of the nation's biggest companies met with the president and lawmakers, urging them to compromise on the fiscal cliff. we speak to honeywell's david cote. >> tom: i'mom
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